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  Playing Deke for a day: alternate crew selections (Page 4)

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Author Topic:   Playing Deke for a day: alternate crew selections
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-18-2010 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
The interesting point now arises as to what NASA would have done if the first landing failed.
This question is addressed in another active thread: If there had been an Apollo 11 scrub...

Delta7
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posted 06-18-2010 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
Would they have gone against their political masters or would they have found another civilian?
Personally I believe that angle was over-rated; while some certainly felt a civilian as first man on the moon sent a better message to the world, I don't think there was any concerted effort within NASA or from Washington to ensure that happened. Armstrong was the only civilian in a realistic position to be the one. Cunningham was blacklisted, Schweikart had the space nausea issue, and Haise was too far down the totem pole to be given that plum distinction. The other (rookie) civilians in the office weren't even on the flight assignment radar at the time.

It just so happens it was Armstrong, and not Stafford or Conrad or Lovell or Borman. The fact that he was a civilian was simply unplanned icing on the cake for those who thought that was important in my opinion.

moorouge
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posted 06-18-2010 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a small point - by failed I meant if the actual landing resulted in a loss of the crew.

jasonelam
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posted 06-18-2010 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
Just a small point - by failed I meant if the actual landing resulted in a loss of the crew.

If the Apollo 11 mission had ended in a loss of crew, I would say that the Apollo 12 Crew would get the next shot. However, considering the time it would take to investigate the incident, it's hard to say whether the program would be continued.

Joe Allegretti
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posted 06-18-2010 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Allegretti   Click Here to Email Joe Allegretti     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm brand new to this forum and reading this thread has reminded me of a question I have.

My apologies if this is so obvious, but I wonder if there is a site or document that lists all the flight and backup crews on all the Apollo flights, including all the changes in crews and backup crews, all the shifts that took place due to death, retirements, etc.

I've got the lists of all the crews and backup crews but don't have a list that shows all the changes within crews and all the shifts of crews from one flight to another. Thanks for allowing me to join this great forum!

jasonelam
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posted 06-18-2010 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
It just so happens it was Armstrong, and not Stafford or Conrad or Lovell or Borman. The fact that he was a civilian was simply unplanned icing on the cake for those who thought that was important in my opinion.

Very true. Consider that if McDivitt had said "Yes" to flying Apollo 8 to the moon, then Pete Conrad would have been the first man on the moon. I agree that at the time, the idea of whether the first person on the moon was civilian or otherwise was not important. I would say that the most important aspect was that they were an American

Delta7
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posted 06-18-2010 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick Boos:
Does Joe Engle fit in anywhere? Remember he got booted out of Apollo 17.

Pretty straightforward with Engle. He was in line for Apollo 17 and was replaced by Schmitt after the cancellation of Apollos 18 & 19. Slayton actually submitted Engle as LMP for Apollo 17, but the higher-ups insisted Schmitt be on the flight since his Apollo 18 misssion was cancelled. Presumably they didn't care who the other 2 crewmembers were.

webhamster
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posted 06-18-2010 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for webhamster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Allegretti:
I wonder if there is a site or document that lists all the flight and backup crews on all the Apollo flights, including all the changes in crews and backup crews, all the shifts that took place due to death, retirements, etc.
"Deke!" covers how assignments were made (and changed) quite well. As a book it also delves far more into the reasons than any list ever could.

stsmithva
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posted 06-19-2010 06:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Allegretti:
I wonder if there is a site or document that lists all the flight and backup crews on all the Apollo flights, including all the changes in crews and backup crews, all the shifts that took place due to death, retirements, etc.
This isn't of immediate help, but the best representation I've ever seen of this information was at the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Titusville, FL. There is a 20-foot-long display along a wall with the missions listed along the top. Then it shows all the shifting names and the reasons for those shifts.

Is there a website that also shows this?

moorouge
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posted 06-19-2010 06:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a confusing and complicated chart on Wikipedia that shows all crew selection details.

Meanwhile, on the BBC website I came across this:

The crew selection procedure adopted by Slayton named a prime crew to fly a mission, a back-up crew to take its place if the need arose and a support crew to keep the prime and back-up crews abreast of developments outside their own sphere of interest, releasing them from mundane but necessary day-to-day affairs.
Slayton considered all astronauts to be equally capable of flying any mission, although each astronaut was assigned to specialise in different aspects of the flights which made some more suitable for certain missions. For example in the crew of Apollo 11, commander Neil Armstrong specialised in trainers and simulators, Buzz Aldrin specialised in mission planning and rendezvous techniques, and Mike Collins' speciality concerned pressure suits and Extra Vehicular Activities (EVA). A crew selected as back-up could expect to become the prime crew three flights later. Thus the crew that backed up Apollo 8, Armstrong, Aldrin and Haise, would ultimately be slated to become the prime crew for Apollo 11.
There is a footnote to the above explaining how Collins finished up on the '11' crew.

If anyone goes into this site I wonder if they can spot the glaring mistake on it!

JohnPaul56
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posted 06-19-2010 06:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JohnPaul56     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott Carpenter flew Aurora 7, not Sigma 7 (Wally's flight).

jasonelam
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posted 06-21-2010 10:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What would have happened had Deke been able to fly Delta 7? How would the Mercury flights been different after his, and would this have really changed crew selection?

Also, to add more flavor to this question, who would have taken Deke's job title?

webhamster
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posted 06-21-2010 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for webhamster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jasonelam:
What would have happened had Deke been able to fly Delta 7? How would the Mercury flights been different after his, and would this have really changed crew selection?

That's a very interesting question. If he was active I doubt he would have been moved into the position he had and somebody else would have been assigning crews. In "Deke!" it mentions that he had to fight to get Cooper on his Mercury flight and in this scenario, with one less Mercury flight available and management already wary about Gordo, you have to wonder if he might have ever flown at all...

Delta7
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posted 06-21-2010 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That really changes the whole equation, since Deke put his own imprint on the Gemini and Apollo crew selection process.

I think one can assume the following:

MA-7: Slayton.
MA-8: Carpenter (and does he have the same problems that he encountered on MA-7, or does he fly a great mission and go on to fly again?).
MA-9: Schirra.

Then it's all up in the air (no pun intended). Someone else, likely a non-astronaut, oversees astronaut assignments with his own set of opinions and prejudices. Possibly Al Shepard assumes the role after being grounded for Meunieres Syndrome.

Does Cooper fly an early Gemini mission? As Command Pilot or Pilot? Or at all?

Does the "backup crew skips 2 flights and becomes prime for the third" system still emerge, or something different? Backup crew flies next mission? Skips one mission? Is broken up and a new crew formed from the pool of astronauts available, tailored to the specific mission? Do different astronauts emerge on top of the pecking order with someone else making the assessments?

One thing is for sure: with someone other than Deke calling the shots (and maybe more than one person along the way), we'd probably be looking at a very different history of who flew what mission, who walked on the moon, and even who died in the line of duty.

moorouge
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posted 06-21-2010 04:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let's keep up folks shall we.
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
MA-8: Carpenter (and does he have the same problems that he encountered on MA-7, or does he fly a great mission and go on to fly again?)
There was no way Carpenter was going to fly again because in July 1964 he lost his flight status following his scooter accident in Bermuda which left him with impaired mobility in his left elbow. The first Gemini flight wasn't until 1965.

Changing tack somewhat - what if Carpenter, now grounded, had taken over the role occupied by Slayton?

And a final thought - what has happened to Glenn in everyone's theories?

Delta7
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posted 06-21-2010 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
There was no way Carpenter was going to fly again because in July 1964 he lost his flight status following his scooter accident in Bermuda which left him with impaired mobility in his left elbow.
Maybe if he was training for another flight by then he wouldn't have been in Bermuda and had the accident.

Delta7
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posted 06-21-2010 05:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One possible outcome:
  • GT-3: Grissom, McDivitt (Grissom replacing Shepard after Meuniere's).
  • GT-4: Cooper, Stafford.
  • GT-5: Slayton, Borman
  • GT-6: Schirra, Conrad.
  • GT-7: Carpenter, See.
  • GT-8: Armstrong, Lovell.
  • GT-9: McDivitt, White.
  • GT-10: Stafford, Young.
  • GT-11: Borman, Scott.
  • GT-12: Conrad, Bassett.

astro-nut
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posted 06-21-2010 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just my opinion:
  • Apollo 13: Cooper (CDR), Eisele (CMP), Cunningham (LMP)
  • Apollo 14: Lovell (CDR), Mattingly (CMP), Haise (LMP)
  • Apollo 15: Scott (CDR), Worden (CMP), Irwin (LMP)
  • Apollo 16: Young (CDR), Swigert (CMP), Duke (LMP)
  • Apollo 17: Cernan (CDR), Evans (CMP), Engle (LMP)
  • Apollo 18: Gordon (CDR), Brand (CMP), Schmitt (LMP)
  • Apollo 19: Stafford (CDR),Pogue (CMP), Carr (LMP)
  • Apollo 20: Shepard (CDR), Roosa (CMP), Mitchell (LMP)
So America's first man in space would become America's last man to step foot on the Moon. Not a bad scenario in my opinion.

moorouge
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posted 06-22-2010 02:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by astro-nut:
Not a bad scenario in my opinion.
Unless - Glenn and Carpenter do NOT testify against the inclusion of women in the astronaut corps. Women are given equal status and the first crew to land on the Moon is an all woman crew. Jerri Cobb the first to place a dainty foot on its surface?

Fra Mauro
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posted 06-22-2010 09:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's another twist -- what happens if Slayton stays on flight status? Who gets to select the crews and how does that change things?

moorouge
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posted 06-22-2010 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
Here's another twist -- what happens if Slayton stays on flight status? Who gets to select the crews and how does that change things?

I already posed this question. No takers so far. I still think that if circumstances had been different and some of the Mercury 13 had been selected what would be the chances of mixed crews (in a Gemini?) and women making the first Moon landing.

jasonelam
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posted 06-22-2010 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, I think that I opened a new can of worms . Here's my alternate crew selection:

MA-7: Slayton
MA-8: Carpenter
MA-9: Schirra
MA-10: Cooper (formerly "Freedom 7 II")

GT-3: Grissom/Stafford*
GT-4: Slayton/White
GT-5: Cooper/Young
GT-6: Schirra/McDivitt
GT-7: Borman/Lovell*
GT-8: Armstrong/Bassett
GT-9: See/Scott
GT-10: Conrad/Collins
GT-11: Young/Cernan
GT-12: Stafford/Gordon

* Changed after some thought.

Tom
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posted 06-22-2010 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Neither Borman or McDivitt flying as Command Pilot? Not too sure about that...

jasonelam
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posted 06-22-2010 10:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tom:
Neither Borman or McDivitt flying as Command Pilot? Not too sure about that...

Good point.

moorouge
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posted 06-23-2010 02:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jasonelam:
Here's my alternate crew selection:

Interesting selection. But what justification have you for altering what actually happened? Anyone can pair off names. Why not -
  • GT-3 Glenn, Carpenter (flight spent arguing over who discovered fireflies)
  • GT-4 Cooper, Grissom (crew sleep for most of mission)
  • GT-5 Schirra, Stafford (time spent recording first album)
  • GT-6 Slayton, Cobb (press go balmy over first mixed sex crew. EVA delayed while pilot puts on face and decides what to wear.)
  • GT-7 Conrad, Young (Conrad spends flight negotiating mining rights on Moon for cheese, Young seeks suitable location to open sandwich bar)
  • GT-8 Lovell (flies alone as others refuse to fly with Captain Shakey)
My choices are based on absolutely nothing. Just names as they came to mind.

jasonelam
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posted 06-23-2010 08:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For my process, I went for command of the first four by the order in which they flew in Mercury, then the others based on what I thought would be an interesting match up of crew members.

Let's just forget I even posted it...

jasonelam
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posted 06-23-2010 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
MA-7: Slayton.
MA-8: Carpenter (and does he have the same problems that he encountered on MA-7, or does he fly a great mission and go on to fly again?).
MA-9: Schirra.

When Slayton was grounded, didn't Carpenter "inherit" Delta 7 and changed it to Aurora 7? If that were the case, Slayton would have encountered similar issues with his spacecraft.

Delta7
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posted 06-23-2010 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Correct. Same spacecraft, different name. Slayton would presumably have encountered the same problems. The question is would he have handled them differently, and not been subject to the accusations of distraction made toward Carpenter? And if Carpenter flew MA-8, without the malfunctions, would the issue of distraction have ever come up? In my opinion, both Slayton and Carpenter come out looking good.

jasonelam
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posted 06-23-2010 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In which case, Carpenter would have been in training more than likely for a Gemini flight and therefore might not have had the accident that ended his astronaut career (medically speaking).

With 5 of the Mercury 7 still in rotation, that would have made Gemini seats even more scarce. Wonder how that would have changed the assignments?

moorouge
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posted 06-23-2010 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To be serious. I think that Carpenter, no matter how successful a flight was made, would have been highly unlikely to have been allocated a Gemini place.

Might I suggest that his close friendship with Glenn caught him up in the war raging at the time between the Astronaut Office and the Flight Control Office. As it was, Glenn left and Carpenter, in the fall of 1963 and nearly two years before the first Gemini flight, followed on secondment from NASA to follow his interest in Sealab.

Delta7
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posted 06-23-2010 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jasonelam:
With 5 of the Mercury 7 still in rotation, that would have made Gemini seats even more scarce. Wonder how that would have changed the assignments
One possible outcome (from my earlier post):
  • GT-3: Grissom, McDivitt (Grissom replacing Shepard after Meniere's).
  • GT-4: Cooper, Stafford.
  • GT-5: Slayton, Borman
  • GT-6: Schirra, Conrad.
  • GT-7: Carpenter, See.
  • GT-8: Armstrong, Lovell.
  • GT-9: McDivitt, White.
  • GT-10: Stafford, Young.
  • GT-11: Borman, Scott.
  • GT-12: Conrad, Bassett.

Delta7
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posted 06-23-2010 08:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's always fascinating to ponder how the Fickle Finger Of Fate has played a role in manned spaceflight history.

Take the case of Ted Freeman, a classic one of "being at the wrong place at EXACTLY the wrong time".

On that fateful day in October 1964, Ted Freeman drives to Ellington AFB. After walking to the NASA hangar, he realizes he left his wallet in the car. The two minutes it takes for him to go back and retrieve it results in the flock of geese passing through two minutes before the moment of actual contact an hour or two later. Freeman lands uneventfully, goes home to his wife and daughter. Goes on to fly in space three times and walks on the moon. Later, serves as head of the USAF Test Pilot School, retires with the rank of Brig. General, and becomes an executive with McDonnell Douglas.

June 2010, collectSPACE features a picture of Ted and Faith Freeman in the shuttle bus enroute to the Astronaut Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, of which Freeman is a member.

All naught but for the fact of poor timing.

moorouge
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posted 06-24-2010 02:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
It's always fascinating to ponder how the Fickle Finger Of Fate has played a role in manned spaceflight history.
This is true. So let's go for broke and consider all the decisions that might have made a major impact on crew selections.
  1. Women, i.e. candidates from the Mercury 13, are selected.
  2. Glenn remains on flight status as do Slayton and Carpenter both in full health.
  3. There is no Apollo 1 fire.
  4. Perhaps the most important, the US and Russia do reach an agreement to make reaching the Moon a joint effort. (Leonov and White the first to walk on the Moon?)
OK - there are those who are going to say that the last wouldn't have happened. True. However, in this thread there are those who still place Carpenter on Gemini flights - and this just wouldn't have happened either.

jasonelam
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posted 06-24-2010 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
It's always fascinating to ponder how the Fickle Finger Of Fate has played a role in manned spaceflight history...All naught but for the fact of poor timing.

This to me is one of the most interesting parts of this entire topic...politics, equipment, weather and, more often than not, fate, had a lot to do with the final outcomes that we read in our history books and online.

The interesting thing that I see is parallels in the Soviet program. Komarov was diagnosed with a hear murmur that nearly ended his space career, others were kicked out for behavior (Anikeyev, Nelyubov, and Filatyev), and Bondarenko and Gagarin were killed in accidents.

Even more interesting was the fact that in some cases, crew selection was based on religion (Volynov was taken off the Voshkod 1 crew because his family was Jewish) and even political (Katys was also bumped from Voshkod 1 because he had a brother and sister living in Paris, which he didn't mention in his interview and made him unpopular with the State Commission)

moorouge
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posted 06-25-2010 06:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As, perhaps, a final word here are the numbers for the actual flight time contribution by the selection groups up to and including Skylab. Quite obviously the 1st Group made a 100% contribution to the Mercury programme.
    GEMINI -

  • Group 1 - 11.6%;
  • Group 2 - 72.1%;
  • Group 3 - 16.5%

    APOLLO -

  • Group 1 - 6.4%;
  • Group 2 - 23.6%;
  • Group 3 - 37.2%;
  • Group 4 - 4.1%;
  • Group 5 - 28.7%

    SKYLAB -

  • Group 2 - 5.5%;
  • Group 3 - 11.6%;
  • Group 4 - 33.4%;
  • Group 5 - 49.5%
If one takes the contribution by the groups to the overall flight time to the end of Skylab the numbers are -
  • Group 1 - 3.5%;
  • Group 2 - 17.6%;
  • Group 3 - 20.8%;
  • Group 4 - 20.3%;
  • Group 5 - 37.9%.
It's worth noting that a 'scientist' group was the 4th selected.

WAWalsh
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posted 06-28-2010 08:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
Here's another twist -- what happens if Slayton stays on flight status? Who gets to select the crews and how does that change things?

I am not sure that this question is that complicated. I presume it was Gilruth making the call for the first three Mercury flights and he would have made the decision for the remaining Mercury flights. After he was grounded, his colleagues would do for him what they did for Deke in the primary timeline and what Deke did for him two years later -- Al Shepard would take the position.

Lou Chinal
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posted 06-28-2010 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jasonelam:
Komarov was diagnosed with a hear murmur that nearly ended his space career...
Just when was Komarov diagnosed with a heart murmur?

jasonelam
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posted 06-28-2010 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While some of the sites I have gone to and books I have read state heart murmur (Shayler's "Disasters and Accidents in Manned Spaceflight", p.72), "Into That Silent Sea" notes it was an extrasystole, or independent contraction of the heart. (p.341-342) While the doctors decided that it was not going to affect him in spaceflight, it brought serious doubt to the future of his flight status.

Fra Mauro
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posted 07-14-2010 11:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let's assume a few things -- Deke gets cleared for Apollo 2 and Apollo 1 is successful. How would that have affected the careers of Slayton, Eisele and Cunningham?

Delta7
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From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 07-15-2010 01:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
Let's assume a few things -- Deke gets cleared for Apollo 2 and Apollo 1 is successful. How would that have affected the careers of Slayton, Eisele and Cunningham?

Two huge speculative "ifs". Presumably Slayton would have been a candidate for a later lunar landing.

More likely is if Deke had been cleared to fly and assigned to Apollo 2, then after it's cancellation as Grissom'e backup for Apollo 1. Presumably, he would have commanded Apollo 7 after the fire. Then maybe backup CDR of Apollo 10, and then CDR of Apollo 13? Along with Eisele and/or Cunningham?


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